GOP lawmaker defends NH House Tea Party agenda

GOP state Rep. Will Smith has posted a response to a campaign mailer from local Democrats. The mailer had targeted the New Castle Republican over his votes on controversial bills in the Republican-dominated House. Here are a few excerpts from his response which he claims is to “correct the mailer’s inaccuracies and wrong implications.”

On eliminating licensing requirements for concealed firearms:

I believe a key to public safety is to allow ordinary citizens to be able to defend themselves. For example, massacres at Columbine High School, Ft. Hood, and the Aurora CO movie theater could have been avoided if some of the innocent targets were armed and thus could defend themselves and others against the heavily armed criminal.

On reducing the state’s cigarette tax:

NH’s regressive cigarette tax on a legal product has soared over the past few years. I believe it is unfair to burden smokers with a disproportionate share of the tax burden. …

On lowering the school dropout age:

I believe in parental involvement and control over their children’s education. They are in the best position to judge what is good for their children. This includes determining whether their 16-year old child is benefiting from the education system. …

Rep. Will Smith’s Offensive Right to Work Explanation

At the GOP’s fundraiser in Rye yesterday, most of the attention was focused on right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, who was a last-minute no-show in order to avoid being served a grand jury subpoena.

But even more offensive than the party elite seeking to hobnob with the convicted filmmaker who is being investigated by the state attorney general’s office, was a speech by one of the candidates in attendance.

New Castle state Rep. Will Smith was quoted by the Portsmouth Herald as claiming his proposed Right to Work legislation is a civil rights bill.

The [Right to Work] bill, which would prevent requiring all employees to pay union fees, is a “civil rights bill and a good jobs bill,” Smith said.

It’s a particularly offensive and inappropriate characterization. Right to Work originated as a response from southern segregationists to fight union efforts to organize workers and end Jim Crow discrimination.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s last march in Memphis was in support of public workers in their fight against segregation and right-to-work laws written to keep them divided and powerless. Dr. King was clear:

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.

Rep. vs. Rep.: “Like Calling Mary Poppins a Hooker”

Patch is running a poll asking, “Does House Speaker William O’Brien deserve another term?” The unscientific poll doesn’t hold much interest for me, but the readers’ comments are quite entertaining.

When the conversation turned to reports of O’Brien bullying lawmakers who disagreed with him, a reader identifying himself as GOP Rep. Will Smith jumped to his defense:

[N]one of the so called “bullying” episodes EVER occurred! Emerson is a liar, the Senate Sargent at Arms is a union hack and was FIRED and he wasn’t even in the room and Tim Copeland is a union hack liar who also wasn’t there and never even had a conversation with the Speaker or majority leader.

That was all too much for Rep. Lee Quandt. “Is Rep. Will Smith unhinged?” asked Quandt.

Calling Emerson and Copeland liars is like calling Mary Poppins a hooker, just doesn’t fit and not credible.

By the Numbers: 1,376 Jobs Lost to State Budget Cuts

1,376. That’s the number of jobs lost in New Hampshire, since July 1, as a direct result of the state budget passed by the GOP-dominated legislature. The Portsmouth Herald reports hospital workers and state employees have been hardest hit by the budget cuts.

ORGANIZATION                        LOCATION        JOBS       NOTICE
Catholic Medical Center . . . . . . Manchester . . . 101 . . . Aug 18
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital  . . . Lebanon  . . . . 300 . . . Aug 10
Elliott Hospital  . . . . . . . . . Manchester . . . 182 . . . Jul 26
N.H. Court System . . . . . . . . . Concord  . . . .  68 . . . May 12
N.H. DOT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . Concord  . . . .  42 . . . Jul 30
N.H. Legal Assistance . . . . . . . Nashua . . . . .  14 . . . Aug 21
N.H. Public Television  . . . . . . Manchester . . .  20 . . . Jun 2
St. Joseph Hospital . . . . . . . . Nashua . . . . . 174 . . . Aug 2
Southern N.H. Medical Center  . . . Nashua . . . . . 100 . . . Jul 28
State of N.H. . . . . . . . . . . . Concord  . . . . 130 . . . Jul 17
University of New Hampshire . . . . Durham . . . . . 200 . . . Apr 13
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital . . . . Dover  . . . . .  45 . . . Aug 11

Republican legislators responsible for the state budget dismissed the report:

When reached for comment through a spokeswoman, House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, issued a statement that said, “Clearly, this is a smokescreen by the Democratic party to detract from the news that they have admitted to breaking campaign laws….

[State Rep. Will Smith] said it is to be expected that budget cuts would cost jobs, but he added not all employment is of economic value to the state….

Miscellany Blue